Wednesday 17 July 2019

Captain Coleman promises there will be no 'sitting back' in Copenhagen

Seamus Coleman. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Seamus Coleman. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Ireland's crunch Euro 2020 clash with Denmark is two weeks away and captain Seamus Coleman has promised that they will approach Copenhagen with ambition rather than trepidation.

It's a familiar fixture given recent history, and the matches on Danish soil have made for grim viewing.

Martin O'Neill's scoreless draws were achieved in very different circumstances. The play-off draw in November 2017 bred false hope.

A year later, Ireland visited Aarhus for a drab affair that marked the official end of O'Neill's tenure. The FAI had actually made the decision to act before that fixture. Coleman remained on good terms with O'Neill and Roy Keane so he watched his words carefully in Portugal yesterday as he discussed what needs to be different for the forthcoming trip.

He feels Ireland owe Denmark one, and also believes that the template for how to do so was laid out in March's purposeful win against Georgia.

"What we will do is set up like we did against Georgia and try to take the game to them and try and press them," said Coleman yesterday.

"A point is a good result sometimes but if you sit back waiting on a point then sometimes it doesn't go that way. So it will be about us. We will be aware of their dangers but it will be about us playing on the front foot and trying to win the ball in their half.

"The last camp when we met up under the manager, people were flying around in training trying to impress, so there definitely has been a freshness this year.

"And in case anyone wants to twist my words saying it wasn't fresh last year, that's not what I'm saying. I'm talking about this campaign and this management team. It's been good."

Coleman is now established in the role of captain and says he understands the importance of going out of his way to make newcomers such as Luca Connell feel welcome. He thinks the newcomer should be allowed to enjoy this week rather than facing questions about dual eligibility.

He did give a positive mention to a player who is likely to be on the way out of Everton this summer - his good friend James McCarthy. The Glaswegian is absent from this Irish trip due to his lack of game-time and his need to resolve his future.

McCarthy played just 14 minutes this season, and was frustrated when a loan move was blocked in January - just after he returned to full fitness following his leg break.

"If you'd asked me six weeks after he came back from injury how he was doing, I'd have said he was maybe a bit nervous, a bit tentative, but in the last three months he has been what he used to be, the James McCarthy of old," said Coleman.

"He was getting in people's faces and flying into tackles. He was really fit but, for one reason or another, the manager (Marco Silva) has chosen not to play him. James has talked about how he'd like to get out and get playing football again and it would be good for everyone to see him back week in, week out.

"I'd like to believe that if he gets a pre-season and starts a season somewhere we can get James back. That would be very good for this team as well."

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: Kerry back to their best, Connolly’s return and Cork’s baffling inconsistency

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport